Easy-to-Build August Home Publishing Co.

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1 Easy-to-Build Garden bench 2013 August Home Publishing Co.

2 Outdoor Project easy-to-build Garden Bench Whether in a favorite corner of the garden or under a big shade tree, this solid outdoor bench will complement any landscape. Straight lines and gentle curves give this solid bench a style that will bring beauty and simplicity to any outdoor space. The joinery for this bench is just as easy: A few tapers, angles and a straightforward joint in the legs make this an easy bench to build. And a rubbed oil finish protects the bench from the elements. The bench has just six main parts, four legs, a stretcher and a top, held together with dowels and screws. All the bevels are cut at the same angle so it s easy to set up the right cuts. Once all the pieces are sized, it s just a matter of a few dadoes and a handful of mortises and the bench goes together for years of enjoyment. So, with a few boards and only a weekend of work, you ll have a great bench. I chose white oak to build the bench because it s strong and naturally resistant to decay. But other types of wood can also be good choices for garden projects. Western cedar or redwood, for example, are frequently used for outdoor furniture. 1 WoodsmithPlans.com WS August Home Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved.

3 NOTE: Bench finished with Penofin Ultra Premium Red Label Wood Finish in sable OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 36"L x 12"W x 18"H Materials, Supplies, & Cutting Diagram A Legs (4) 1 2 x B Stretcher (1) 1 2 x 5-32 C Seat (1) 1 2 x D False Tenons (4) x (4) #8 x 3" Fh Woodscrews (4) 1 2 "-dia. dowels (2 1 2 " long) 2 WoodsmithPlans.com WS August Home Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved.

4 a. b. making the Legs Two pairs of angled legs joined to a notched stretcher give this bench a solid base. Dadoes on both ends of the stretcher fit in the notches in the legs and are connected with dowels. This solid-wood joinery leaves a bench that won t be susceptible to rust. And moisture will be less of a problem as well. Size the legs. I started by cutting the four leg blanks to size. How-To: Quick Tapers Cut the Taper. After marking the taper, make a freehand cut as close to the line as possible, leaving a little excess. Next, you can cut the bevel on the top and the bottom of each leg piece. With the bevels cut you ll have a reference point to work from for the next step when you lay out the beveled notches on the inside edge of each of the legs. Notches. To lay out the notches, I used a bevel gauge set to match the cut on the bottom of the leg and used it to make the layout Smooth the Edge. To smooth the saw marks left by the band saw and trim to the layout line, make a pass over the jointer. lines for the notches (detail a ). You might find it easier to lay out both sides at the same time standing the legs back to back. This way you ll be sure to have matching cuts. Because the legs are mirror images, you ll need to reset your miter gauge after cutting the notches on the first two legs (top drawings on the next page). I used a wide dado blade and just cut to the layout lines to make the notches. Two of the legs are cut 10º left of zero and two are cut 10º right of zero. Leg Arc. Adding to the design of the bench is the arc at the bottom of each leg. To lay out a smooth, continuous arc, I clamped the two matching legs together with a 1 2" spacer between them, as in the How-To box on the next page. This will make a gentle curve at the top of the arc. Once the arc is laid out, take the pieces over to the band saw and tilt the table 10º to make the cuts. When it s finished, you can sand the cut with a sanding drum 3 WoodsmithPlans.com WS August Home Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved.

5 on the drill press. To preserve the angle of the beveled cut, I tilted the drill press table 10º as well. If your band saw or drill press has a fixed table, you can cut a couple of 10º wedges and fasten them to a piece of MDF to make a tilted table. This will give you a beveled surface to lay the legs on to make the cuts or sand the edges. Taper. The final step for making the legs is to cut the tapers on the side of each piece. I laid the adjoining leg pieces side-by-side with the notches matching so that I would be sure to mark the tapers in the correct direction. Once the tapers are marked, you can take the legs over to the band saw again to make the cuts. Just cut as close to the layout line as possible. Then clean up the cut with a jointer, shaving it down to the layout line, as shown in the How-To box on the previous page. Save at least one piece of the waste from this cut. You ll need it later when it s time to add the stretcher. Apply Finish. Usually, I wait to apply a finish to a project until after it s completed. But this is an outdoor project. And it has some areas that will be hard to access once it s assembled (like the narrow space between the two legs). So you ll want to apply an exterior oil finish to the pieces as they are completed (refer to Sources on page 7 for finish options). But don t apply finish to the notched areas or the dado in the stretcher you ll build next. These areas will be glued when the base is assembled later. How-To: Beveled Arcs Marking and cutting the beveled arcs on the bottom of the leg pieces are simple tasks with the help of a 12"- dia. template. The template will give you the correct curve for the arc. Just place the template at the top of the Make the Cut. Tilting the band saw table to 10º allows you to cut the arc to match the angle of the top and bottom of the legs. Make the cut on the outside of the layout line, then sand it smooth. arc and line up the centerline of the circle template with the centerline of the side assembly. To complete the arc, just cut to the line on the band saw and smooth the edge with a sanding drum. Mark the Arc. A 1 2" spacer placed between the legs allows you to mark a continuous arc across the bottom of the base. A 12"-dia. template will give you the proper arc. Sand it Smooth. A sanding drum will make short work of finishing the arc. A piece of MDF under the workpiece will raise it enough to sand the entire edge at one time and keep the drum off the table. 4 WoodsmithPlans.com WS August Home Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved.

6 a. b. adding the Stretcher With the legs completed, the next step is to add the stretcher. This piece is as simple to make as the legs. It just takes one curve and a couple of dadoes after the workpiece is cut to size. sizing the stretcher. It s important that the joinery on this bench is snug. The goal here is to have a perfect fit between the legs and the stretcher, so if you start by cutting the stretcher a hair wide, Shop Tip: Dowel Holes Mark Holes. Place dowel centers in the holes in the stretcher and clamp the legs together to mark hole location. you can shave it down on the jointer later when you re ready to fit the stretcher in the notches. But for now, you can cut the piece to length by mitering the ends. Arc. To make the arc along the bottom of the stretcher, I bent a thin strip of wood until it matched the end points and centerline of the arc (detail b ). Then just trace the line with a pencil. After it s marked, you can cut the arc on the band saw and then clean it up with a sanding block. If you use a piece of the waste from Predrill for Dowels. Reattach the waste from the taper cut to level the legs on the drill press. Then just drill holes to match length of dowels. the cut, you ll have a sanding block that closely matches the arc (see main drawing above). Dadoes. The final step is to cut the dadoes. I used a 3 4 "-wide dado blade in the table saw and cut to the lines as before. Fitting the Base. When I have interlocking pieces on a project like this one, I like to bring the workpieces together for a dry fit. If the stretcher is too wide, now is the time to shave off a bit on the top. Dowel Holes. Once the base is fit together, you can drill the holes for the dowels that reinforce the joint. I drilled the through holes in the stretcher first (detail b ). Now you can mark the holes in the legs using dowel centers (see Shop Tip at left). For the second step of this process, you ll need the piece of waste you saved when you cut the tapers in the sides of the legs. Details of this step are shown in the box at left. Assembly. All that s left is to assemble the base. I used a waterproof glue (Titebond III) in the interlocking joint and on the dowels. As you assemble you ll want to make sure that the legs are evenly spaced at the top and at the same angle. 5 WoodsmithPlans.com WS August Home Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved.

7 making the Seat Of course, no bench is complete without a comfortable seat. This seat is just a glued up plank with beveled sides, screwed to the legs through mortises in the top. False tenons cover the screws. After gluing up the seat blank, I cut it to size with bevels on all four edges. I also softened the sharp corners of the seat with 220- grit sandpaper. As I mentioned earlier, there are four mortises cut in the seat to hold the false tenons (detail b ). To create these mortises, I made a routing template from four pieces of scrap lumber (How-To box below). Using this template with a pattern bit, you can rout the mortises and then clean up the corners with a chisel. The final step is to drill holes for the screws that hold the seat to the legs (detail a ). You can do this on the drill press. False Tenons. The four false tenons are the finishing touches for the bench. I cut all of them from a blank sized to fit the mortises in the seat. You can start with a long blank, cut the tapers on each end and then cut off a tenon from each end of the block (lower right drawing). You can sand the end grain with 440-grit sandpaper so the wood doesn t take on too much finish. Attach the Seat. Before you attach the seat to the base, you ll want to apply the oil finish, being careful not to get any oil in the mortises. Once the finish is applied you can attach the seat. Just center the seat over the base and drill pilot How-To: Mortises for False Tenons a. b. holes into the legs and insert the screws to hold the seat down. The final step is to glue the false tenons in the mortises. You can do this by spreading glue in the bottom of the mortise and lightly tapping the tenon in. Once the seat is attached, you ll have a nice place to sit in the yard and enjoy the outdoors. a. Template. A routing template for the mortises can be made from four pieces of scrap as shown here. Rout Mortises. I used a 1 2"-dia. pattern bit to rout the mortises in the seat, making two passes 1 4" deep. To square up the corners, use a chisel. Bevels. The false tenon bevels are cut on the table saw with the blade tilted to 10º. 6 WoodsmithPlans.com WS August Home Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved.

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